This is not a story that is told in words.


This is a story of action. This is a story of resolve. And this is a story of the depths of trust.


Two partners, facing the world. Their love and connection so deep, they don't need to speak. They don't need to see each other to know the other will be exactly where they need to be.


The swirling, menacing evils they face would be too much for just one. The demons that outnumber them would swarm in from all sides. But these two Lovers, they put their backs together, they set their footing, their mutual connection is all the rallying cry they need to withstand all the horrors the world can throw.


The action choreography is stunning. At any time, one of our heroes may stumble. But seamlessly, the other steps in, protecting, regaining their footings together, using the power of their love to give them more strength than they could ever have alone.


One is almost tempted to pity the villain who makes the mistake of thinking these two solitary Lovers are easy targets. They are not. They have the primordial flame of inspiration surrounding them, fueling their passion. So long as they are together, they will not fall.


I once went to a very good Halloween party filled with strange artists and beautiful musicians and enough drink and otherwise to satisfy them all. And at this party, our Host promised to perform a straight-jacket escape at midnight. Said Host subsequently sampled a selection of the aforementioned drink and otherwise and, more than slightly impaired, when the time came to perform their daring bit of escape magic, made the grave error of selecting the two biggest guests as his assistants. Both men stood well over six foot and could easily lift our Host with one hand (and have fingers to spare), and both had also indulged in the inebriatory delights on offer. They saw the straps of our Host's straight-jacket as a challenge of strength, and proceeded to strap them in as securely as the canvas would allow.


And so our Host found themself completely and formidably trapped, surrounded by a Dionysian crowd of cheering onlookers.


Our Host began to pull. Testing their prison. One arm, then the other, straining against the thick canvas.


A minute passed. Two.


Our Host dropped to the ground, trying to use the floor as leverage, or possibly just losing their balance. The crowd started drifting back to the conversation of the kitchen, or the cigarettes on the roof.


Four minutes. Five.


Only a few of us left as witnesses, the cheering long ago replaced with a hushed, nervous awareness that at some point we might be called upon to release our Host from their embarrassed defeat. But our Host did not ask for help. Indeed, our Host had their eyes closed, their face placid, now in a world consisting only of their own body and the interior walls of their personal cell. Luck had conspired against our Host, but still they kept pushing, twisting, pulling, centimeter by centimeter, one direction, another.


Seven minutes. Eight.


Our Host's hand appeared from out the bottom edge of the straight-jacket, fingers wide, as though taking a deep breath. The hand sought out the closest strap, between their legs, and painfully pulled, trying to find enough purchase to release the clasp. (Knowing how these sorts of escapes work, I may have begun cheering at this point, because escape now was inevitable, but that is another story.)


Eleven minutes after midnight, our Host stood up, pulled their straight-jacket over their head, and threw it at their feet. They were coated in sweat and clearly humbled, but still… quietly triumphant. They did not speak, but I heard a lesson:


The Wheel spins, inevitable. Sometimes where it lands is less than welcome. But trust your own skills. Know that no matter how much discomfort you feel, blood rushing to your head and hands cramping with effort, your skills will still guide you. The process is there to help you face everything fate may throw at you. You can endure all that fortune throws at you, with patience, and skill.


But it doesn't hurt to have a few spotters on hand to help you to your feet and hand you a drink after.

Updated: Jan 19


Three Tarot cards, side by side. On the left, the 3 of Swords, three swords piercing the heart of a sad knight. In the center, the Harbinger of Cups, a handsome human with long, flowing hair and closed eyes riding a giant chalice like a rodeo bull. On the right, the Elder of Cups, a buddha-like bald figure in loose clothing, smiling with tears in their eyes, and a chalice in place of their heart.

There is no vaccine for heartbreak.


In my youth, in the days when the Internet was still called "newspapers", I wrote a relationship advice column. I wrote under my middle name, because I thought at the time that "Have Patience" was delightfully quirky.


This is not a story about how taste changes with age. Well, it isn't not that. Have Patience.


Anyone who has spent any time with romance advice columns knows how frequently the question boils down to, "How do I find love without getting my heart broken?" And the answer is… you can't.


In order to love and to be loved, we must be willing to be vulnerable. We can't be loved without opening the depths of our innermost squish to the sharp, scary, pointy world. Throw yourself blindly into the source of your passion or approach it with measured calm, either way, there is always a chance you'll get hurt.


The choice isn't "Love safely or love recklessly". It's "Love Vulnerably or Not At All".


I won't pretend that heartbreak is easy. It can be the most pain a person can endure. But the alternative, living a life without love, is worse. Small comfort, I know. But worth the risk.



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